Sunday, January 12, 2014

A-Rod is No Curt Flood

If you polled most professional baseball players today many would recognize the name of Curt Flood, but I doubt most would know what he went through so that they could get their multi-million dollar contracts today. Based on his reaction to the pronouncement of arbitrator Frederic Horowitz's 162-game ban, it seems Alex Rodriguez is trying to put himself on the same level as Curt Flood.

A-Rod was clearly thinking of all ball players, present and future, when he stated,
No player should have to go through what I have been dealing with, and I am exhausting all options to ensure not only that I get justice, but that players’ contracts and rights are protected through the next round of bargaining, and that the MLB investigation and arbitration process cannot be used against others in the future the way it is currently being used to unjustly punish me.
Alex Rodriguez, humanitarian. What a load of...nonsense. There is only one person that A-Rod cares about and that's the guy he was staring at in the mirror in the infamous 2009 Details magazine spread.

Flood was a star for the St. Louis Cardinals for 12 seasons, but in October 1969 the team dealt him, Tim McCarver and two others to the Philadelphia Phillies for three players, including Dick Allen and Cookie Rojas. Flood wanted no part of it and challenged baseball's reserve clause in a letter written to then commissioner Bowie Kuhn.
Mr. Bowie K. Kuhn
Commissioner of Baseball
680 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10019
After twelve years in the Major Leagues, I do not feel I am a piece of property to be bought and sold irrespective of my wishes. I believe that any system which produces that result violates my basic rights as a citizen and is inconsistent with the laws of the United States and of the sovereign States.
It is my desire to play baseball in 1970, and I am capable of playing. I have received a contract offer from the Philadelphia Club, but I believe I have the right to consider offers from other clubs before making any decisions. I, therefore, request that you make known to all Major League Clubs my feelings in this matter, and advise them of my availability for the 1970 season.
Sincerely Yours, Curt Flood.
Flood was still just 31-years old at the time the letter was sent to Kuhn. As expected, the commissioner denied the request, but Flood wasn't finished. He sued Kuhn and Major League Baseball, stating that the reserve clause was akin to slavery and indentured servitude and violated anti-trust laws.

The case went to the US Supreme Court where Flood's accusations were denied in 1972 by a 5-3 vote. Former players like Jackie Robinson testified in Flood's behalf, but no active players would take the risk of participating in the hearings.

After sitting out the 1970 season, Flood was dealt by the Phillies to the Washington Senators, but he retired after just 13 games played in the 1971 season. Flood's fight went on, however, and in 1974 an arbitrator eliminated the reserve clause and opened the doors for free agency.

Curt Flood tragically died of pneummonia in 1997 at the young age of 59, two years after he battled throat cancer.

No Alex Rodriguez, you are no Curt Flood.

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